Chicago Handicap Preview

Sometimes called the Chicago Sprint (because of its distance), the Chicago Handicap is a late-June/early-July fixture of the Arlington stakes calendar. It carries a Grade 3 ranking and is a solid race on the calendar for older female sprinters. The seven-furlong (7/8 mile) distance matches that of the richest race all year for this group, the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. Past winners include:

  • Safely Kept (1991), a Hall of Famer who beat boys in the 1990 Breeders Cup Sprint.
  • Meafara, (1993) who had a stakes in her honor earlier in the meet in June.
  • Saoirse (2000), a Canadian Champion Older Female.
  • Happy Ticket (2005), the richest Louisiana-bred female of all time.
  • Informed Decision (2009, 2010) who won the BC Filly & Mare Sprint and Eclipse for Champion Older Female Sprinter in 2009.

Arlington Park – – Race 8 — Grade 3 Chicago Handicap — Seven furlongs on Polytrack — Post time 4:45 CT

The race has two favorites, ARIANA D and HONEY CHILE.  The Author likes neither of them to win. The former usually finds one better but is a good horse to use for  the bottoms of wagers; the latter is questionable with respect to the distance (better at shorter) and a passing gear. Yuck and double yuck.

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A May 23 N3X/$100K AOC provides the clues. The polytrack that day tended to favor forwardedly placed runners on the inside, and once MAUDE S  got there she took off to win a nice win that afternoon.  LADY CHESTERFIELD, the 11-10 favorite that day, was taken off the rail going into the turn, opening it up for MAUDE S. That indicates MAUDE S’s win as a bit of a mirage. The pick is LADY CHESTERFIELD, who gave the race away when taken off the rail. Two seconds in two career efforts on polytrack, Graham/Stidham have been quite successful recently (73% ITM). MAUDE S deserves respect for winning the allowance, and trainer J. DiVito is clicking along at his usual range of winners. The horse who has behind her, Peyote Patty, was fourth in the Lincoln Heritage. Never been out of the money at today’s seven furlong distance and worth considering.  ARIANA D may be better going one turn, but she needs some upfront pace and today’s race may not have enough to set her up. While she has her best races at seven furlongs (Alywow, G2 Masters, G1 Madison) she also has the knack of finding one better. A garbage collecting clunk-up type that you can use for the bottom of a trifecta (as aforementioned earlier).

#5 LADY CHESTERFIELD (8/1)

#7 MAUDE S (5/1)

#2 ARIANA D (3/1)

Longshot: Let’s go with a horse on the upswing, #6 BRILLIANT FUTURE (12/1). On paper, there’s not a lot of speed in this event. And we have a runner that in her last two starts controlled the race on the lead, last time out in an N2X at Presque Isle Downs and two back going a single-turn mile over the local surface. Hmm.  We also have a rider with a penchant for putting mounts on the front end and nursing speed on the lead to victory (see: Black Tie Affair Handicap).  Double Hmm.  With clunk-up ARIANA D and yucky chile, oops, HONEY CHILE, in this field to take the popular wagering, I’ll go this mare who has always turned in her best results on synthetics (Presque, Arlington, Turfway).

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Also on the card, Picks and Ponderings looks at the Mariah’s Storm Stakes.

Good luck!

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